PRC’s Lewis headed north

Published 12:02 am Sunday, July 1, 2007

The most successful head baseball coach in Pearl River County over the past four years is moving on.

Pearl River Central’s Greg Lewis, who has guided the Blue Devils to consecutive 20 win seasons and four straight playoff berths, was named as the new head coach at Lafayette County High in Oxford on Monday night.

Making the move was a very tough decision for Lewis, who is a PRC alumnus.

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“It happened so quick, I guess it’s still hard to believe,” Lewis said Tuesday night. “I mean this is home, and I wasn’t looking to go anywhere else. I really didn’t want to leave. But this just seemed to be too good of an opportunity to pass up.”

Lewis said that in addition to a “substantial raise”, he was impressed with the facilities and the surroundings as well at LCHS.

He won’t have to teach any classes also, and will just have to worry about the baseball team.

“When they made me the offer, and I talked to coach (Doug Smith, PRC’s Athletics Director) about it, he said ‘I don’t know how you can turn that down’”, Lewis added.

Lewis replaces Richy Harrellson, who guided the Commodores to the Class 4A state championship just two years ago. Harrellson left LCHS to take a job as an assistant at Northeast Community College.

“I thought after last season that if anybody wanted to talk to me about another job I would listen, but I wasn’t pursuing any other jobs,” Lewis said.

Lewis, though, was recommended for the job through other coaches in Mississippi prep circles, and eventually agreed to go up for an interview on Friday morning.

“I thought we would ride up there and then come back,” Lewis said, of his meeting with LCHS athletics director Jeff Nelson. “There were a couple of other guys interviewing for the job as well that day, but before we got back to Jackson he called and offered me the job.”

But Lewis struggled with the decision over the weekend, first accepting the job then saying no, that he wasn’t ready to leave.

“In the end, it just seemed like it was the right time for this to happen,” Lewis added. “It just seemed like everything fell into place.”

Lewis is leaving a Blue Devil team that could be one of the favorites to win Division 8-4A next season.

“I think the job will be of interest to a lot of people, because of the success we’ve had over the past few years,” Lewis added. “”But I have to give all the credit to the players. Because if it wasn’t for them and what they have accomplished over the past few years I would have never have had this opportunity.”

Lewis broke the news to his team Monday just before a summer league contest.

“It was tough to do, there were some tears,” he continued. “I hated to leave my boys, but I think they understood.”

Smith and PRC principal Loren Harris are expected to begin a search immediately for Lewis’ replacement.

PRC assistant coach Jeremy Cochran is one of those expected to apply for the job.

Lewis spent five years as the head coach at PRC, and was named the coach of the year in the division after his team won the league crown in 2006.

He guided the Blue Devils to the postseason in four of his five years at the helm of his alma mater.

“It’s been a great time,” Lewis concluded.